SEPTEMBER 11, 2022
Bill Gates has partnered with Samsung to create a prototype waterless toilet for household use that turns solid waste into ashes.
The toilet was developed as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Reinvent the Toilet Challenge which started in 2011 and sought proposals for toilets that safely and effectively manage human waste.
The Microsoft founder worked with the research and development team from Samsung Electronics to design the waterless toilet, which uses heat-treatment and bioprocessing technologies to kill pathogens found in human waste.
While solid waste is dehydrated, dried, and burned to ashes, liquid waste is treated through a biological purification process. The system also enables the treated water to be fully recycled, Samsung stated on its website.
Describing the prototype toilet as “energy-efficient”, Samsung said that it is designed to run without water, making it particularly useful in remote regions where water is scarce.
According to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the disposal of human waste has changed little since its inception and is a major contributor to several significant health problems.
The toilet hasn’t really changed in more than a century. But a new generation of technology could save millions of lives.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) November 6, 2018
“The flush toilet hasn’t changed much since it was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harington,” said the foundation in a statement.
“There have been other advancements – waste treatment plants and underground sewers – but these complicated, expensive, and hard-to-manage technologies don’t do much good in developing countries where 950 million people still have to defecate outdoors.”
According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF, about 3.6 billion people are forced to use unsafe sanitation facilities, resulting in half a million children under age 5 dying every year from diarrheal diseases caused by limited access to safe water and hygiene.